how to: roast sugar pumpkins

Now that the season of roasting everything is upon us, I decided now would be a good time to show how to roast sugar pumpkins. I came across some lovely pumpkins at the farmers’ market this week. You want to look for a pumpkin that is small and round with smooth, non-glossy skin. Inspect the stem and bottom for any cracks or mold, which you obviously don’t want. Sugar pumpkins should keep for about 3 weeks in room temperature, which means that you can use them as indoor decorations and cook them up later.

Once you have picked your pumpkin, give it a good rinse to remove any dirt. Using a really sharp knife, cut the top off to remove the stem. This will make it easier to cut it in a half. I usually sharpen my knife right before I plan to cut up any squash, so I don’t have to worry about it being dull. You don’t want to have to fight with it at all, which can lead to you getting cut.

After cutting off the top, you will cut it in half. Then using a spoon, scoop the seeds and guts. If you want to save the seeds for roasting, you can. You can also cut off the bottom at this time if you would like to.

Place skin side up on a greased baking sheet. I brush it with vegetable oil, so it doesn’t leave any flavor. If you know that you are going to use the pumpkin in savory dishes, olive oil would work too.

Roast at 350 degrees for 45-50 minutes. It may take more or less time depending on the size of the pumpkins. You can tell when it is done by sticking a fork in it. You should be able to pierce the skin easily, and the flesh should feel really soft. The flesh will also darken while it bakes. Remove from the oven and let sit for at least 10 minutes.

Use a spoon to separate the pumpkin from its skin. You can mash it up with either a fork or a potato masher. If you want it super smooth, you can puree it in a blender or use an immersion blender.

Either use right away, or it can be frozen in an airtight container. If frozen, it should last for up to 6 months.